Squires finally captures crown

Robert Anderson

Good things come to those who wait.

The old adage recently proved true for Aynor Area Athletic Association softball coach Heath Squires.

Squires had been the odd man out in recent years when Aynor softball teams brought home one state championship trophy after the other and advanced to the World Series.

Squires and faithful assistant coach Penny Skipper were always bridesmaids it seems. When Aynor teams brought home four state championship trophies in 2015, Squires and his Dixie Darlings squad were second best.

They also collected a pair of other state runner-up trophies as well as a third place finish the previous three years.

Squires, who began coaching when his oldest daughter started playing softball, must have been wondering if his day would ever come.

It came this past week, and the string of second and third place trophies made leading this year’s Aynor Dixie X-Play Angels to a state championship in Florence even more special for Squires.

“It’s been a long road,” he said.

As fate would have it, the X-Play Angels are Aynor’s only state championship softball team this summer.

The Aynor Dixie Darlings finished second as did the Aynor X-Play Ponytails.

Also, the two-time defending state champion Aynor Sweetees were very young this year and finished fourth. Coach Nikki Goff’s team had its share of tournament highlights, however, with a win over Florence. Congratulations are also in order for 6-year-olds Gracelynn Long and Ashtyn Lewis, who smashed home runs during the tournament.

Aynor is going to be a force in state softball circles in all divisions for a long time to come, and Squires and Skipper will likely play key roles in the town’s success. Seven members of the X-Play Angels are eligible to return next year, and now that Squires has the proverbial monkey off his back, his team will be probable favorites to repeat as state champions.

Congratulations coach.

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